Florida Guide > State Parks
GAINSEVILLE HAWTHORNE STATE TRAIL
Gainseville Hawthorne State Trail stretches from Gainseville to Hawthorne. This once was the site for goods and passenger trains carrying fruit and vegetables as well as people from the 1860s. The State Parks department took over the land in 1988 and worked hard to create the trail which we can travel today. Gainseville, Aluchua County and Florida Trails program contributed towards this end.
There are 17 natural communities here; look out for the sink holes along your way and catcus make their home here too. They have used the old rail tracks to make the trail which measures 16 miles. These are considered to be among the best trails in Florida (and there are a fair few to choose from! )
If you are lucky. you may see bison here; bison were common in Florida until the 1970s, but the real decimation took place in the nineteenth century. Bison seemed hell bent on destroying the railway tracks and a programme to shoot them meant that their numbers plummeted from 60 million to 541 in less than 90 years (this was over the whole of America) Remember Buffalo Bill? He slaughtered hundreds every day. (bison are often mis named as buffalo, but they are differnet animals)
This also impacted on the Native Americans who hunted the bison for their meat but they also used the bones for tools, sinews for binding and skins for clothes. Nothing, but nothing was ever wasted by the native Indians, we could learn from them! Today there are thought to be only around 50000 bison left in all America and this is due to their agressive preservation programme.
You may also spot some wild horses in this park along the trail and the fishing is good; try Lochloosa Creek and Prairie Creek, as these are especially fertile You will need a fishing license; these are available from sporting goods shops, Walmart and on line. You can also get inexpensive fishing equipment at Walmart if you have not brought your own.
These are the access points for this trail
- Boulware Springs Park 3300 SE 15th Street, Gainesville Uses: Bikes, Pedestrians, & Horses
- La Chua Trail 4801 Camp Ranch Road, Gainesville Uses: Pedestrians only
- Lochloosa 7209 SE 200th Drive, Hawthorne Uses: Bikes, Pedestrians, & Horses
- Hawthorne 300 SW 2nd Ave, Hawthorne Uses: Bikes & Pedestrians only
There is no charge for this State Park so you have free day out! Take plenty to drink and some snacks.
Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail
3400 SE 15 Street, Gainesville, FL
Gainesville, Florida 32641
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